The Internet of Things (IoT) are three words that can both terrify and fascinate. On the one hand you have the Jetsons-style modern future, but on the other a darker side filled hacks to products in your home. Microsoft's latest move isn't heading into your home, at least yet. Instead it aims to harness the power of Azure to aid the business world in this new frontier.
Microsoft shoots to "better connect people, processes and assets, and better harness data" with this new offering. The company claims it will allow businesses to more easily monitor digital assets, thereby bring a host of benefits along with it.
The gradual push of just about everything to the cloud means that security and privacy are of greater concern than ever before. This is true for everyone who makes use of cloud services like OneDrive and Azure, but it is of particular interest to enterprise customers.
Today Microsoft has become the first major cloud service provider to adopt ISO/IEC 27018, the world’s first international standard for cloud privacy. The idea is to ensure that there is a global standard that determines how personal data privacy is handled in the cloud. The standard equips people with a number of assurances.
For both software and data, there is a relentless move to the cloud. But with so many different cloud services to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one is best. To help make things a little easier, Google today launches PerfKit Benchmarker.
The open-source tool makes it possible to run benchmarks across a variety of cloud platforms, and a dedicated visualization tool, Perfkit Explorer, has been created to help with the interpretation of results. The tool provides essential data to developers who are creating applications in the cloud.
Microsoft has released its earnings report for Q2 FY2015 (that's Q4 CY2014 for everyone else), revealing figures that closely match analyst expectations. The software giant achieved $26.5 billion in revenue, with operating income coming in at $7.8 billion. Gross margin and diluted earnings per share were $16.3 billion and $0.71, respectively. However, in after-hours trading, Microsoft's shares dropped by $2, or 4.28 percent, to $45 per share.
Microsoft has delivered some good news through its earnings report concerning its Devices and Consumer part of the business. Surface revenue reached $1.1 billion at the end of the quarter, which translates to a healthy increase of 24 percent over Q2 FY2014. Lumia sales topped 10.5 million, which, again, is better than the same quarter from a year prior as well as the previous quarter, Q1 FY2015. And the list goes on.
Whenever I see contests and sweepstakes, I am usually dubious. Why? I just don't see the fun in a random drawing. Sure, winning a prize is fun, but if you win it for doing nothing other than signing up, where is the sport? I prefer a contest where the winner earns a prize.
Today, Microsoft announces a rather sweet contest aimed at developers (developers, developers...). Well, not just any developers, but game developers in particular. If you can create a really great Windows game, the company may fly you to the 2015 Game Developer Conference.
Microsoft Azure RemoteApp has been available since the beginning of the year as a preview service. It's a relatively simple concept (although the technology behind it is rather more complex) that allows for the deployment of Windows apps to the cloud so they can be accessed from anywhere -- even Macs and mobile devices.
Today Microsoft announces that Microsoft Azure RemoteApp will officially launch as a pay-as-you-go service on December 11. Anyone who is already working with the preview will be automatically moved to a 30-day trial version, and after this time a subscription will be needed.
The Great Firewall of China is renowned for the restrictions it places on what Chinese citizens can access online. Free speech advocates have long called for the Chinese government to allow access to the wider web, so people in China can get a better idea of what is going on elsewhere in the world. Now GreatFire.org, working with the BBC, has found a way to deliver uncensored Chinese language news to those on the wrong side of the firewall.
GreatFire.org is an anti-censorship group that monitors web blocking in China and campaigns against censorship. Various techniques for getting around the Great Firewall of China have been publicized in the past, but they have relied on VPNs and other tools that can be complicated to set up. The latest method requires no special tools.
Microsoft Azure was hit by an 11-hour outage on November 19, in United States, Europe and certain parts of Asia. The outage impacted multiple services offered through the cloud platform, including Azure Storage, Virtual Machines, Service Bus, and Visual Studio, just to name a few. The culprit? Microsoft links a performance update to the mishap.
The performance update, which is meant for Azure Storage, "had been [successfully] tested over several weeks", says Microsoft, on a small subset of targets, prior to being applied. However, during the general roll-out, Microsoft noticed an issue which resulted in an "inability for the [storage blob] front ends to take on further traffic, which in turn caused other services built on top to experience issues".
Many businesses are put off moving their systems to the cloud by the complexity and time involved to complete the transfer process.
To help overcome this problem management tools specialist Metalogix is launching a Cloud Acceleration Suite along with a Partner Program to help businesses deploy collaboration abilities on their chosen cloud platform.
With Azure and Office 365, Microsoft already has a strong position in the business cloud market. But the company isn't resting on its laurels, it used this week's Convergence 2014 conference in Barcelona to announce a number of innovations to help enterprises gain greater benefit from the cloud.
The main announcement is that the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release will be generally available in December this year. The new release is designed to address the growing need for businesses to deliver seamless experiences to their customers by helping them break down the barriers between divisions.
Securing applications in the cloud can prove a difficult challenge for businesses. Any solution needs to balance protection against accessibility and not harm performance.
Everybody deserves the opportunity to compete and feel good about themselves. The Special Olympics is a great example of this; people with intellectual disabilities compete against each other in sports to build confidence, and most importantly, have fun. The non-profit organization is essential for many people the world over.
Today, Microsoft announces that it is partnering with the organization to modernize its technology with a big focus on the cloud. The Special Olympics will be getting all kinds of cool stuff, like Lumia smartphones and Surface tablets.
Microsoft has announced the addition of several new features to its Azure data services platform to support Apache Hadoop.
Azure HDInsight will gain support of real-time analytics for Apache Hadoop and Azure Marketplace will benefit from new machine learning capabilities.
Most of us have hopefully managed to get off the sinking ship that was Windows XP. As much of a recent memory as that has become, a new end of life is rearing its head, and it's approaching fervently for those who haven't started planning for it. Microsoft's Windows Server 2003, a solid server operating system that's now about eleven and a half years old, is heading for complete extinction in just under 300 days. Microsoft has a fashionable countdown timer already ticking.
Seeing as we just finished our second server migration in a single week (a personal record so far), sharing some of the finer aspects of how we are streamlining these transitions seems like a timely fit. This braindump of sorts is a collection of best practices that we are routinely following for our own customers, and they seem to be serving us well so far.
Microsoft has announced service enhancements and a reduced price scheme for its Azure SQL database, as a result of customer feedback.
Microsoft has now promised to deliver a service-level agreement (SLA) of 99.99 percent availability, equivalent to a downtime of just 53 minutes per year.